Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Foodie penpals - October reveal!

This month I was the lucky recipient of a parcel from Cynni, who lives in the Netherlands. She went to such a lot of effort for me and I have been so excited to share her thoughtfulness!
Before I had even opened the parcel, I was already delighted with just the cellotape sticking my address to the box!
The contents were beautifully wrapped in tissue paper
Cynni had taken the time to hand write me a card and explain all of her choices. I was absolutely thrilled!
 These little gingerbread style biscuits were lovely - an absolute hit with the children.
 These nuts may well be the best tasting nut selection I have ever had - and that's saying something!! I loved LOVED these and they didn't last long...!
I love trying new herbal teas, the first thing I did when I opened the parcel was make a cup of my new tea and eat some nuts. Ideal!
The B'tween bars were lovely, nutty cereal bars - perfect after a workout.

We managed to eat all of the toffee wafer biscuits without me taking a picture, but take my word for it, they were amazing. And the little salad picks are soo cute, I am thinking to use these for some cheese and pineapple snacks!

Thanks so much Cynni.  You prepped me a parcel full of my foodie faves and I loved it.

Here is a sneak peak of the box I sent out to my foodie penpal, the also amazingly named Sarah. For her review of the box I sent, go and check out her blog here.

Thanks for arranging us into ship shape order Carol Ann! Clanettes, go and take a look at her website 'Rock Salt' to see all the other parcels that were swapped this month!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Get Fit, Feel Epic - Final summary

That's it Clanettes! It's done! It's over! The challenge that is Get Fit, Feel Epic is finished!

On Saturday I went to the gym with my friend Suzie and we ran 5k and cycled 6miles, and then on Sunday morning I went out and cycled my final 10 miles.

Please join me as I yell from the roof tops "I reached all of my targets!". I overcame day surgery and 2 weeks of recuperation to come back and absolutely smash it this week, and the pay off is big - I've done what I said I would, I've fulfilled my obligations to myself and I couldn't be happier.

My goals were:
1) Cycle 300 miles during the 8 weeks - I have cycled 301 miles (484km!!)
2) Run 60km (37 miles) in the next 8 weeks - I have run 60km
3) Swim at least 12 times during the challenge - After 4 weeks I swam twice
3) A 45 mile sportive on the 21st October and associated training. Done!

4) Yoga - I am a stretch-a-holic!
5) Eat right - 
80/20 is a win in my book!

I have stats and photos and routes coming out of my ears, but I don't think I need to show you them all for the umpteenth time. This round up is about me and what the challenges have taught me.

What have I learnt? I have learnt that however and whatever you plan for, sometimes it doesn't turn out as you hoped. I had planned on running 7.5k, cycling 35miles and swimming twice a week.. Pretty easy in my head..  I didn't plan on hospital and lack of training. But what I did do was pick myself up, dust myself down and crack on.  So all of my efforts were pretty end loaded, and I certainly didn't expect to have to run 24k in the last week - but that's ok because I got the job done.

Going forward:
  • I think I will stick with a weekly round up. I like seeing what I have achieved, or haven't achieved during the week, it motivates me.
  • I have set up a November challenge on Motoactv but you don't need to use Motoactv to track your training, you could just join me. The challenge is to rack up some miles by running and cycling, and see who can go the furthest in November..  Come on, you know you can beat me!
  • I have realised that running is a mindset. I started running because I wanted to do a triathlon this year. It was a means to an end. By 14k this week I thought I couldn't do it, it just plain hurt, but by 23k with 1k left to do, I knew I could. Now I want to do some interval training to get faster.. I don't think I'll ever be a distance runner, I love my bike too much, but I am pretty sure I can be a faster runner. Long term, 5k in 30mins would be amazing!

And now for my cheesy Oscars inspired acceptance speech:

Thanks so much for spurring me on through the last 8 weeks Clanettes. Thanks to my family and friends, for the babysitting and the encouragement. Thanks to everyone who has read and left me a comment, you have helped me more than you know. Sometimes its easier to receive a compliment from an internet friend who you haven't met in real life, than it is to hear the positive truth from your own family.

I feel amazing right now, hugely epic! I could take on the world - well, after couple of rest days maybe!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Get Fit, Feel Epic - You can do it!

Its fair to say I am feeling the wear! I am seriously fatigued! I am fit for me, fit for my life, however I am not fit in the greater sense of the word. I'm a 5k run, one decent bike ride, couple of swims a week kinda girl.. I am not a 19k down 5k still to run kinda girl..!
But as Rob Schnieder would tell Adam Sandler - You can do it! So come on Clanettes, yell encouragingly at your computer/phone/generic hand held device "Come on Sarah, you can do it"

On Monday, my mini goals for the next 6 days, in order to complete the GFFE challenges I set 8 weeks ago, were:
Run 17km (10 miles)
Cycle 36 miles

I posted on Thursday, detailing my 7k beach run and 15 mile (17 actually once my route was uploaded) bike ride, leaving 10k to run and 19miles to cycle..

Paul is still on annual leave and today, whilst the biglets were at school and Niamh played with her besty, he took me to his gym to motivate me through a workout with him. I ran 5k, cycled 4 miles and just for the stretch, I followed it up with swimming 16 lengths. IT WAS HARD.

My thighs are  r e a l l y  feeling it, so we started with the run just to get it the hell over!
Then I needed to get 4 miles done on the spinning bike, to make sure that I have my distances covered off - the handle bars and screen look a bit different to my road bike!
What I really love about Paul's gym (MUCH posher than mine!) apart from the shampoo/conditioner/shower gel that is provided in the showers, is the touch screen music videos on the treadmill.

As we hit the weekend, with 2 days left, I have 15 miles to cycle and 5k left to run.  Not a particularly stretching weekend for me - usually - but I am so so weary that I questioned myself this afternoon. When on earth have I ever done anything like this before? And what on earth am I doing right now? Why do I neeeeed to achieve the targets I set myself??

Its so important to me because its another milestone. Further proof of the distance I have travelled from the me I didn't want to be anymore, at the start of the year. The shallow truth of it, is that I look at the photos of me on the spinning bike above and I don't recognise myself. I certainly don't see her when I look in the mirror. She looks like a slim lady, one who keeps herself in shape, she would possibly be someone I might look at in the gym and admire. Surely that's not me?

So. 15 miles on my bike. 5k in my trainers and a whole heap of self esteem. See you at the finish line x x

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ho Ho Ho! Festive Fabric Fun!

Last month I wrote about my Mincemeat making party, I normally make my mincemeat in August but I was late this year and with Paul away on RAB I decided to throw a party and get my friends involved.. Weirdo's that they are, they seemed to enjoy it and the idea of a festive get together to prep Crimble 'stuff' once a month until Christmas, was born..

Last night we got all Kirsty Allsop on our fun. Kirsty is my tv alter-ego I think.. She ticks all of my homemaker checklist. Anyway. I made some of these hearts last Christmas
Inspired by Kirstys' heart garland
Heart shaped garland 

Last night we got our sew on
My dining table still has the snowflake cloth on it from the mincemeat bash and it will stay on now til Spring I think! I got out my Christmas fabric stash, and I was very lucky to be given a fabric injection by Mrs Franks.
It was a fusion night... My house is dressed for Samhain/Halloween, all my Samhain crockery is out.. and we were eating mincepies.. I think it worked though! (And don't think I haven't noticed that all my posts recently include indulgent food! Its a good job I am working so hard on my GFFE goals eh!)
 First mincepie of the year! And very nice it was too!
This was an amazing Christmas tree shaped dairy free biscuit, topped with lemon curd (my favorite preserve!) and then meringue..

Elle was sew enthused she even brought her own sewing machine, which she had never used before and got busy. Can we all just note that bikes are important for all parts of life - even sewing.. please note the canny use of my bike light helping Elle thread her machine!

Clocks go back tomorrow night - Christmas is a comin'!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Get Fit, Feel Epic - Mid week update!

Happy Thursday Clanettes!

Thanks again to Weight Wars and for hosting this challenge!

I talked about completing my goals on Monday, GFFE ends this weekend and when I posted on Monday I had 36 cycling miles and 17 running kilometres outstanding..

Along with discovering I enjoy being slimmer, cycling, running and swimming this year, I also discovered that I like making a goal.. Meeting a target.. Arriving at a destination.

There is no way I could let GFFE end without trying my absolute hardest to make up for the two weeks I had out whilst I was recuperating from my hospital stay.

To this end, I have so far cycled 15 miles this week, and I ran 7k yesterday. The rest of my week includes a 5k run on Friday, a 19 mile bike ride on Saturday and then another 5k run on Saturday.. If I can achieve this, I will have achieved everything I set out to achieve 8 weeks ago.

To help me on my way yesterday, whilst the biglets were at school, Paul and Niamh took me to the beach to give me a new and different run route, they took loads of lovely pics of me looking especially sweaty and then treat me to breakfast in a lovely Cafe - you guessed it, whilst I was especially sweaty! I LOVED IT!
We drove to Lee-on-Solent and I briefly warmed up in the car park, whilst Paul and Niamh prepared to hit the beach..
And off I plodded. Can we all join me in my mini whooping - here is proof that I have a calf muscle!  The first time I have ever seen it! Hello Mr Calf Muscle!
3.5k out, 3.5k back, and I was delighted to find I had been 5 mins quicker then I was on Monday.
7k in 50 mins is a GREAT time for me! (I love the irony of me here, running over a 'no cycling' sign.. No cycling? Gasp! Sacrilege!)
Then, with me looking my best in day-glo, I was whisked off to the tea shop, where we had lattes and apple juice and shared scrambled eggs on toast - the egg is evident in Niamh's mouth above! Paul partook in a bacon sandwich.

If you read my blog often, you will know that I love tracking stuff and recording my progress and congratulating myself - and why not! But what I discovered today is that Daily mile is a very handy tool in this process.

I use Daily Mile because I like the blog widget I have over there, on the right hand side, back at the top of the page ---->

This screen shot shows all my runs since I embarked on the GFFE 8 week challenge..

You can clearly see I am getting faster! I was fluctuating around the mid 8 min kilometre back in Sept, and now I hover around the low to mid 7min kilometre.. I can not tell you how this kind of statistic makes me immensely happy! Proof that me flogging myself is paying off! Ha ha ha, good job you already know my little nuances eh, or you'd start thinking me a weirdo....!

And just because they also offered me this info, here are some more daily mile stats relating to my running over the last 8 weeks:

50.36 Total KM
6.50 Total Time
2 Lbs Burned
9 Total Workouts
0.00 Around World
89.17 TVs Powered
1.65 Gas Saved
52.93 Donuts Burned

Anyway, I digress. Upshot is, I had a lovely time yesterday and I am determined to complete my GFFE goals this week - come hell or high water and other Kidlet related challenges!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WIAW #12

Today I am sharing a meal I had with friends yesterday, for Vikki's birthday. We all met at Elle's house and everyone brought a contribution.
I made my fave Butternut and Nut Butter soup, I have blogged about it before (recipe here, the blog post is here) and I got to serve it in my favorite pumpkin themed dish - I'm so ridiculously precious about it that it only comes out around Samhain/Halloween.
Vikki, the birthday girl, is dairy free, so Elle prepped a savoury sausage roll celebratory candle holding, party popping faux 'cake'. Jenni made a beautiful pasta pesto and sundried tomato dish and Magda brought dairy free cake that was out of this world.
Vikki, despite being the birthday girl, made amazing owl cupcakes! The eagle eyed of you Clanettes will know I used this pic yesterday - Vikki brought the cupcakes to my house yesterday and then left them to taunt me (well, Paul!) overnight! 
We all met and became friends through the 'Bosom Pals' breastfeeding clinic, so it seemed appropriate to guest star some beautiful babes.. Top left is Mia and Sofia, top right is Olivia enjoying her lunch, bottom left Mia fancied a snack too and bottom right is Ziggy, polishing off some cake.. If there is such a thing as going 'stag' to such a lunch, aka kidlet-less, then I was 'stag'! Paul is on annual leave this week and wanted some time with Niamh, so off I toddled. Although I still took the pushchair.. too much food, not enough hands!

And this would be us - Me (Obvs!), Elle, Olivia and Vikki, Magda, Jenni and Ziggy. I was disappointed that I managed to look ridiculous with a squint here, but actually, I post so many photos of me looking stoopid or sweaty, that in reality, this pic isn't actually so bad!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Last cycling Sportive of the year..

And it was a big un!! Hilly and hard - at 'only' (!!) 45 miles I was quietly confident, but actually it was quite tough! But man I LOVED it! I love cycling, the camaraderie, the prep, the doing it, the country side, the food stops, the route that comes with arrows pointing you in the right direction and the smug feeling of achievement afterwards! I love cycling with Paul, and I love that I am fit enough to do it.
There was no sun last Sunday, it was a grey day, but nice and mild. We headed out from Chichester and cycled to East Meon, up Butser Hill (Hey Papa, Butser is a hill worthy of our other nemesis, Whitchurch Hill!) and then back to lovely flat Chichester.
I was particularly muddy at the finish, but I was the proud owner of a new speed PB and a worn pair of break pads. I've only had Amy since May, so those break pads are testament to my busy summer!
Top left: Me as we arrived. Top right: Chowing down at the food stop, half way round. Bottom left: finishers medal. Bottom right: Me and Paul complete with helmet hair!
This would be me, walking up a hill..!

I have completed 5 sportives this year and I have loved every single one of them. The nice thing about a Sportive is that the format is always the same and you know what to expect, but the route is obviously different so the cycling is always exciting.

As we head into winter, I'm looking forward to a little less bike intensity and a slow route through to spring - where I hope I'll start as I mean to go on with an 80 miler to open the season.. Watch this space!

Hope you're feeling much better Rach, I missed you on Sunday. Here's to more riding x

Monday, October 22, 2012

Get Fit, Feel Epic - Week 8

Its the last week! We have flown through this 8 week challenge and I have really enjoyed myself, seeing what everyone else has been up to and keeping myself motivated!

Re-capping my goals:
1) Cycle 300 miles during the 8 weeks - as we head to the finish line I have cycled 264.32 miles
I am so delighted with myself and I am entirely confident I can manage 36 miles this week!

This was a brief leg stretcher last Thursday
 This was a pretty epic hilly sportive!! I am yet to blog of yesterdays exploits, but its coming!

2) Run 60km (37 miles) in the next 8 weeks -  I have run 43km as we hit the final days (26mi)
I ran 7k this morning, and because it was before I wrote this narrative, I am going to shoe horn it into last week. 

3) Swim at least 12 times during the challenge - After 4 weeks I swam twice
3) A 45 mile sportive on the 21st October and associated training.
Oh yeah! done and done!! And can you please note the size of this hill! I had to get off for a section of it and walk - utter madness!

4) Yoga - I am a stretch-a-holic!

5) Eat right -

Your challenge this week: A good old fashioned scavenger hunt...take pictures of  (and be inventive)
1. You after a workout

This was me this morning after running 7k! Sweaty!

2. A piece of fitness equipment
Our foam roller. Paul discovered this on the RAB. It basically allows you to massage yourself by rolling on it.. genius!

3. Where you sleep
Our bed, covered in my beloved eiderdown, a gift from my sister. I sleep on the left, my pillow is lower than Paul's because I have an amazing memory foam thing - he doesn't. You can just make out the wall hanging behind the bed which was made my the amazing Lucy with the help of my other Friends for my blessingway, aka babyshower, for Niamh.

4. Favourite Movie
 Best film EVER!

 5. Your source of inspiration
I inspire me. These medals inspire me - yes they are just finisher medals, but I earnt them, I started some things that I often wondered if I'd be able to finish, but by jingo I did. I am proud of myself!

6. Something that makes you happy
 A well thought out, expertly executed and amazingly decorated cupcake makes me happy!

7. Nature
My Mabon wreath made from nature, hangs on my front door

8. Something you've grown or created

This is my favorite piece of 'art' that we still have in the house. I love this wall hanging and it sits above the computer desk.

9. Something you really should stop
 My chocolate addiction needs work!

10. Something new that you love
If there was a fire, and Paul and the children were safe, I'd grab my boots and my bike and high tail it!

Its the last week Clanettes! I have some big plans - I am going to try and make the mileage I laid out in the beginning.. so I have 36 miles to cycle and a few miles to run..  CAN I DO IT? YES I CAN! Watch this space for a round up next week and my thoughts on what to do next x x